November 29, 2016 / 9:51 AM / 9 months ago

Casablanca Stock Exchange plans share listing -CEO

KIGALI, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Morocco's Casablanca Stock Exchange plans to sell up to 20 percent of its shares to the public and another 15-20 percent stake to a strategic investor in the next five years, its chief executive said.

Karim Hajji said the stock exchange, which he said is Africa's second-largest by market capitalisation, changed its ownership in June this year from a mutual company for brokers, as a first step towards the listing of its shares.

"The authorities wanted to have a two stage approach," he told Reuters at a meeting of African exchanges in the Rwandan capital.

"First, demutualise by broadening the owners of the exchange ... second stage, list the exchange and maybe have a strategic partner take 15-20 percent."

Hajji said the goal of the planned sale was to broaden the ownership of the market. The sale of shares to the public and a strategic investor could take place at the same time, he added.

The exchange, which has a market capitalisation of $55 billion with 75 listed firms, is planning to introduce trading of exchange traded funds and real estate investment trusts, he said, adding derivatives would take longer to introduce.

It is also pursuing new issues, with two firms planning to list their shares in the next two years, under a programme targeting small and mid sized companies.

Hajji said the Casablanca All Share Index has gained 20 percent this year on the back of rising company earnings, bucking the trend elsewhere in Africa, which has seen steep falls.

"We have had a very good year actually," he said, adding lack of capital controls and capital gains taxes had also helped. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri, editing by Louise Heavens)

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